April 17, 2014

Partly cloudy

Judge orders Amish girl to return to chemo

MEDINA — A Medina County judge ordered an Amish family Wednesday to resume chemotherapy treatments for their 10-year-old daughter, who is battling cancer, following a ruling by an appeals court last week.

Sarah Hershberger begged her parents, Andy and Anna, of Homer Township, to stop the treatments after experiencing negative side-effects, according to court records. The family started using natural medicine instead, like vitamins and herbs.

Akron Children’s Hospital sued over the summer to continue the girl’s treatments. The case has bounced back and forth between county Probate Court and the 9th District Court of Appeals since August.

Probate Judge Kevin W. Dunn appointed hospital attorney and registered nurse Maria Schimer as a limited guardian for the girl. The girl’s parents will retain custody, but Schimer will be responsible for making the girl’s medical decisions and arranging transportation for treatments.

Schimer will retain guardianship until Feb. 1, 2016, when the girl is expected to complete treatments.

Under guardianship, the girl’s medical costs will be paid through government programs. The family “will owe nothing for any treatment obtained under this guardianship,” Dunn wrote.

An Akron Children’s Hospital spokeswoman said administrators were pleased with the result of the case.

“Akron Children’s looks forward to working with the girl’s family and the guardian to resume her life-saving treatment,” a hospital spokeswoman said.

The family’s attorney, John Oberholtzer, could not be reached for comment Thursday.

In August, Oberholtzer said his clients view the case as a religious matter, so the situation is in the hands of God.

Without chemotherapy, hospital physicians said the girl would die in a year or less. With treatments, they said she has an 85 percent chance of survival.

Potential side-effects of chemotherapy include infertility, weakness and organ failure.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

  • Traci Rydbom Monroe

    Hey Akron Children’s how many patients that actually wanted chemo treatments and couldn’t afford them did you fight for? I’m sure the cost of this treatment just went up 1000% now that the taxpayers are paying.

  • wrong

    This is easy if Im the Amish I take off out west Wisconsin or somewhere the one thing the Amish are good at shutting their mouth and I can almost bet no other state will get involved… Next thing I say we all boycott childrens… This is one case where I wish i were rich I would start a nasty slam campaign against Akron Childrens that would knock their stock price down to nothing… PARENTS TAKE NOTICE YOU GO TO AKRON CHILDRENS THEY WILL STEAL YOUR CHILDREN!!!!!

  • advocate

    Shame on the Courts, shame on Akron Childrenu2019s Hospital and shame on Maria Schimer. Iu2019m sorry but this is so wrong in so many ways. Is this really in the best interest of the child? Do you people realize the repercussions this will have in the Amish community? The Elders will make their decision and seeking medical treatment will be shunned. Parents will not be inclined or allowed to take their children for medical care for fear they will lose their parental rights . . . limited or otherwise and go against the ruling of their Elders.nnJudge Lohn stated this was a “slippery slope”. How true. Now a precedent has been set.

  • Fatherof4

    So, let me get this straight. If I bring MY child to Akron Children’s Hospital, and I don’t agree with how they want to treat him or her, I can look forward to a court battle for my GOD given parental rights to make decisions for MY child? Who in their right mind would bring their child to anyone associated with this Hospital for treatment? I am sure this nurse/Attorney who works for Akron Children’s Hospital has the child’s best interest at heart, not the Hospitals.